Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Saving Money Challenge: Use Shortening in Place of Butter When Baking
I kind of like to bake. A little. I'm not really good, but I make due with my skills.
So I am here to tell you that if you bake a lot, specifically cookies, you can save some moolah by substituting Shortening for Butter. Why is this cost effective?
A pack of butter has 2 cups of butter in it (1/2 cup per stick, 4 sticks per pack). Butter these days is expensive. It runs typically about $3 for a pack. And I think that's a good price at the grocery store (it's been a while since I bought butter - and I usually by the BJ's brand - 4 packs for $10 - so about $2.50 each pack there).
That canister of Shortening cost me $4.99. Crisco brand is actually pretty cheap at BJ's - it's a huge container for $6.99 the last time I checked. It's probably more expensive now. Anyways, that container of Shortening that cost me $5 is the equivalent of just over 21 sticks of butter. Or 5+ packs. So you do the math - 5 packs of butter X $3 each = $15 or 1 generic can of shortening for $5?
I found out a really awesome trick to do when you are baking with shortening. I think my mother told me. Or maybe I just stumbled across it somewhere. If you are using a Kitchenaid, just throw the needed shortening in the Kitchenaid and beat for about 3 minutes or more. Get it nice and fluffy. Then beat in the sugar, vanilla and eggs and again, beat for a long time. Not like 20 minutes, but a few minutes. Ever since I started beating the shortening prior to adding other ingredients, my cookies have gotten a lot better. I don't know if it's just all in the mind, but I think it works.
And here is proof of awesomeness - The Toll House Cookie recipe made with Shortening vs. Butter. They are actually very airy and very chewy. I think this is because shortening has a higher melting temperature than butter - so it doesn't cook as thoroughly as butter does. Or something like that. My Home Economics classes from college were a LONG time ago (and yes, I took some Home Economics classes in college. I thought I'd be a Home Ec. teacher, but I couldn't pass Organic Chemistry (a required class for Home Ec.) and after a few teaching classes, I remembered that I don't like kids.)